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How to Choose the Right Song to Sing

Do you know how to choose the right song for your voice?

How do you choose the songs you are going to perform?

What factors do you consider before you decide to spend time on mastering a song?

Do you choose a song based only on its popularity or just because “you like it”?

In this article you will find out what makes the perfect choice.

Well, I am not sure if there is such a thing as “the perfect song”. We are all humans and we have different likings, preferences and tastes. However, a good song choice, independent of whether you are preparing for a performance, singing gig, competition or audition, can determine your success.

How to choose the right song?

When you are choosing a song, you need to consider not only your skills and preferences but also your audience. Your listeners will have expectations and preferences that may determine how your performance will be accepted.

Take into consideration who will be listening to you. A panel of judges, a gathering made of parents and friends, or a group of teenagers will have different expectations from your performance.

The music genre that you prefer will certainly dictate where you want to be seen and heard. For example when you sing a more classical repertoire, you probably will not seek karaoke clubs. If your repertoire appeals to a wide range of audience, then think twice what kind of songs you are going to perform.

Also think about the mood you want to create. do you want your audience to dance and have fun or do you want to make them nostalgic and sentimental?

Vocal Abilities

This is probably one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a song. After all, you don’t want to choose a song that will highlight your limited range, pitch problems, unpleasant tone or other technical problems you may have.

Therefore, it is very important to know what you can currently do with your voice. Know your abilities and limitations. For example, if you are aware of not being able to sing very high notes, you can choose a song that will “hide” this fact. You can choose a song with notes in your vocal range and your audience will never know that you cannot hit the high note. If you choose a song with a part that is out of your range, you will be nervous, which will show in your performance.

Sometimes we choose a song because we like the voice of the original artist. This may be a pitfall because your audience will compare you to the original interpreter. If the song does not suit your voice, the audience will think your performance is inferior. On the other hand, if your voice fits and sounds exactly like the original performer, your audience may think that you are a copycat. Sometimes, it’s a good thing, sometimes, it is not.

If you write your own songs or if you are choosing songs that are less known, you may be more successful. Always consider how the song will show your vocal talent. Tailor it to your vocal range and technical abilities. Don’t allow your weakness to be highlighted.

If you get this part right and you choose the right song for your voice, you can focus on other aspects of your performance instead of the technical side of it.

The Key

To change the key

of a song is very easy to do to better suit your vocal range. If a song is too high or too low for your voice, you will not impress your audience. There is also a possibility of vocal injury if you are going out of your range. Changing the song’s key is easy and can help to make a song showcase your voice .

You should change the key of a song, if it is either too high or too low for your voice. You should also change the key if most of the song is in your weaker register (for example when a big part of the song is around your transition from one register to another).

If you cannot change the key, you can change the song slightly. For example, if the song has a few notes out of your range, change the melody to suit your range (sing those high notes lower). However, if you choose a well-known song, the change may be very obvious and your audience will notice it immediately.

The Lyrics

Your audience may or may not pay attention to the lyrics of the song. Some people will listen to the words you are singing. Other people will not think twice about the message of the song. Some people will like songs with easy words that do not have any depth, others will prefer lyrics that will make them analyze the meaning of the song.

You, as an interpreter of a song, will also have different preferences. However, do not underestimate your audience and choose songs with lyrics that you can relate to. The song should come across as part of your personality. Sing songs that tell your story, share your ideas, or communicate your feelings. If you are not a “tough guy”, don’t pick songs with rough messages. Choose words that suit your personality better.

When it comes to swear words, teenage audience will admire songs spiced up with some profanity. Older generation will not appreciate songs that use swear words and may earn you disapproval from your audience.

The Melody

A “good” song usually has a melody that is catchy, memorable or singable. You may prefer melodies that are not popular and are more “unique” but will your audience be able to remember the melody or sing along? The song’s melody should be able to emotionally resonate in your listener and leave them inspired .

When choosing a song, consider a melodic song that will highlight your singing voice. A song with dull and monotonous melody will make your voice seem dull too. Let the melody do the job of complimenting your range and dynamics.

See the summary of this page in pictures – I made an infographic on this topic. Click here to see it.

Get Some Feedback

Getting feedback is always useful. You can get feedback from your friends or from a professional like a vocal teacher.

Record yourself on a regular basis and listen to your voice.

Ask the right questions to make the right choice:

  • Does the song fit my vocal abilities?
  • Is the song in the right key for my voice?
  • Does the song have the right lyrics so that both the audience and I can relate to?
  • Does the song have the right melody that compliments my vocal abilities?

If you can answer yes to all of the questions, then you are making the perfect choice.

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